Ali Smith is the author of six works of fiction, including the novel, HOTEL WORLD, which was short-listed for both the Orange Prize and the Booker Prize in 2001 and won the Encore Award and the Scottish Arts Council Award.
THE ACCIDENTAL was short-listed for the Orange Prize, the Booker Prize, and the James Tait Memorial Prize, and won the Whitbread Award for Best Novel in 2005.
Born in Inverness, Scotland, in 1962, Smith now lives in Cambridge, England.
The above is the blurb from the US paperback edition which my daughter gave me in Paris when we were there on holiday last week.
Having read this blurb and knowing Smith’s name from her many award short-listings, and being aware of the many positive reviews it received on both sides of the Atlantic,
I was delighted to receive it.
However having now read it I have to say that while full of admiration for Smith’s brilliant use of language and her fertile imagination I did not enjoy the book.
I read to be entertained and I’m afraid that magical mystery, hallucinatory tales don’t cut the mustard for me.
This is a literary novel built around a London family on holiday in Norfolk whose stay there is turned upside down by the arrival of a mystery guest. It is a story of teenage angst and midlife crisis and none of the characters are appealing. Much of the writing is quite brilliant but it requires a great deal of concentrated effort from the reader to stay with the story.
Congratulations to the author for winning the Whitbread Award for Best Novel but be warned this is not a holiday read! Perhaps I should have read it at home.